Most Users Still Abandon MOOCs

A STUDY FROM the Alliance for Higher Education and Democracy at the University of Pennsylvania’s Graduate School of Education shows that massive open online courses still inspire low levels of student engagement as a percentage of total initial enrollments.
Most Users Still Abandon MOOCs

The number of active users decreases dramatically after the first one or two weeks. Co-authors Laura Perna, Alan Ruby, Robert Boruch, Nicole Wang, Janie Scull, Chad Evans, and Seher Ahmad analyzed the movement of 1 million users through 16 MOOCs that the University of Pennsylvania offered from June 2012 to June 2013. All offered via the Coursera platform, the courses were on topics ranging from gamification and microeconomics to mythology, poetry, and genome science. The number of students enrolled in each course ranged from more than 110,000 for “Introduction to Operations Management” to about 13,000 for “Rationing and Allocating Scarce Medical Resources.”

The research was supported by the MOOC Research Initiative, which is funded by the Gates Foundation and administered through Athabasca University, as well as a grant from the U.S. Department of Education. Some of the study’s findings are highlighted on this page.